One of the reasons we pursue economic growth is so we can help support families and those most vulnerable in our communities. One of the ways our government is working to do this is through individualized funding for children under the age of six with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The Autism Individualized Funding program is designed to provide parents with funding for therapeutic interventions and family supports that make the most sense for their needs. This year, $2.8 million has been allocated to provide $4,000 per child with ASD under the age of six.
In addition to autism services that will continue to be provided in the public system, it is estimated that approximately 700 children will be eligible for individualized funding this year. An application form and eligible services list have been posted at www.saskatchewan.ca/autism. Families who have applied and meet the program criteria will begin receiving funding in August 2018.
The Autism Individualized Funding program supports the 10-year Saskatchewan Disability Strategy and its vision of making Saskatchewan a more welcoming, inclusive, and accessible province for people who experience disabilities. The program also supports Saskatchewan’s Early Years Plan and its goal of finding better ways to support children experiencing disabilities.
After experiencing a $1.3 billion drop in resource revenues, getting the province’s finances back on track was key to ensuring the services our people expect are sustainable for generations to come. I am pleased to say our plan to get to a balanced budget by next year is on track as finances are continuing to improve. In fact, last year’s deficit improved by nearly $400 million.
There are encouraging signs in our economy with Stats Canada figures showing Saskatchewan recently had the highest month-to-month job increase in six years. At the same time, manufacturing shipments in Saskatchewan are seeing the highest year-over-year growth out of all the provinces.
We need to do what we can to ensure our province’s job creators can keep producing what the world needs, despite competitive challenges our nation faces like a forced federal carbon tax, limited market access for our manufactured goods, and a US tax and regulatory advantage.
Market access, trade between provinces and Canadian competitiveness were among the priorities discussed as Canada’s Premiers gathered for meetings recently. It was there where our province gained a strong ally in Ontario as we stand against the Trudeau carbon tax in court.
We understand that taxing our families, jobs, and businesses is the wrong way to tackle what is a global climate challenge. The federal government’s “one size fits all” approach to climate action is deeply out of touch with what provinces want. In our province, we have a made-in-Saskatchewan climate plan that will actually reduce emissions – and does so without a carbon tax.
We don’t need taxes that drive opportunities for businesses out of Canada. As more and more Canadians realize that, we are seeing provinces like Ontario and Prince Edward Island join Saskatchewan in standing up for their citizens and saying no to an ineffective tax from Ottawa.